'We must end Covid-19 in 2022', says WHO chief; explains how

The ferocity with which Covid-19 is spreading once again has been attributed to the Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa on November 24 and has spread to more than 100 countries since then.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus arrives for a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on December 20.(AFP Photo)
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus arrives for a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on December 20.(AFP Photo)
Published on Dec 22, 2021 10:41 AM IST
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By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has once again brought fears to the hearts of people around the world heading for the holiday season. This is the second consecutive year that Christmas holidays will be held in the shadow of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Also Read | Amid Omicron threat in India, Covid R-value has gone up in these states

But the World Health Organization (WHO) said the governments across the world should work towards ending the pandemic. "2022 must be the year we end the pandemic," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing on Tuesday.

"If we are to end the pandemic in the coming year, we must end inequity, by ensuring 70 per cent of the population of every country is vaccinated by the middle of next year," he added.

"Last week, WHO issued Emergency Use Listing for a ninth vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India under license from Novavax. This new vaccine is part of the COVAX portfolio, and we hope that it will play an important role in achieving our global vaccination targets," the WHO chief added further.

Tedros, however, painted a grim picture saying that a pall of gloom has descended on the world because of Covid-19.

He said that that more than 3.3 million people have lost their lives to the pandemic this year - more deaths than from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined in 2020, and still continues to claim around 50,000 lives every week.

"That's not to mention the unreported deaths, and the millions of excess deaths caused by disruptions to essential health services," the WHO chief added.

The ferocity with which Covid-19 is spreading once again has been attributed to the Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa on November 24 and has spread to more than 100 countries since then.

"There is now consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant. And it is more likely that people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 could be infected or reinfected," said Tedros.

From reporting its lowest number of cases in 18 months, Africa recorded fourth-largest number of cases in a single week, said the WHO chief.

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